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Mundubat’s presence in Mali

Mundubat began working in Mali in 2018. Our first steps in this country were taken in an extremely unfavourable context, in which the country’s Human Development Index (HDI), which at the time was 0.427 (source: 2019 UNDP Human Development Report), reflected a very complex national and regional panorama.

The conflict initiated in the country in 2012 following the declaration of independence in the north by the Coordination of Azawad Movements, in alliance with jihadist organisations, is still ongoing and poses immense challenges to the articulation and stability of the state. In addition to the situation of conflict, other factors also combine to further intensify the violence that is mainly affecting the northern and central areas of the country: the serious economic situation, political corruption and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of this, over 250,000 people have been displaced since 2018, and agricultural production has been severely affected over recent years.

Conflicts between herding communities and sedentary populations are closely linked to the downturn in production and problems with trade channels, which have thrown much of the country into a severe food crisis. Extreme climate events, such as irregular rainfall and persistent drought, alongside the rise in fuel and grain prices exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, together result in a very complex situation in a country in which 90% of the rural population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. The United Nations estimates that in 2022, 7.5 million people in Mali are in need of humanitarian aid.

In light of the above, Mundubat has set in motion an intervention programme designed to develop training processes with female peasant farmers, through the Centre International de Formation en Agroecologie Paysanne Nyeleni de Selingué (CIFAN), and in collaboration with the Mali Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes (CNOP). The main aim is to strengthen the role of female peasant farmers in building sustainable food systems in the country.

Although in 2015 a peace agreement was signed in Algiers, the conflict that began in 2012 following a declaration of independence by the northern region of the country continues to rage today with no real resolution in sight. The climate of instability generated by the conflict triggered protests led by the Movement of June 5-Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), who demanded the resignation of the president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The protests and their repression by the government plunged the country into a situation of uncertainty that culminated, in 2020, with a coup d’état by mid-ranking military officials. This was followed, in 2021, by another coup led by the then Vice President of the interim government.

In addition to a context dominated by foreign military presence and the logic of colonial domination, and the jihadist violence proliferating in the northern and central areas, the country is also beset by a disastrous economic situation, political corruption, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the food crisis that has reached alarming levels in a global context characterised by a seemingly endless rise in the price of fuel and grain due to the war in Ukraine.

The conflict in Azawad, in the north of Mali, which is characterised by clashes between herding communities and sedentary populations, has had an extremely negative impact on the agricultural cycle over recent years, affecting production and trade channels and resulting in the abandonment of certain arable areas. This in turn has increased food insecurity throughout the entire country, and this situation has been further exacerbated by the extreme climate events that have left their devastating mark on 90% of the rural population who depend on farming for their livelihood.

The return of Malian refugees from neighbouring countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Algeria) has increased the pressure and further complicated the humanitarian crisis triggered by the war. The need to fight against impunity in the face of human rights violations and blatant disrespect for humanitarian law has been strengthen by the renewal of the MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali) mandate in June 2020, although its capacity to make any real headway in the county will depend on the time for which it remains in effect.

To respond to the critical situation of the country effectively and on the basis of peace combined with social justice, Mundubat is focusing its activities on food security among the most vulnerable population, supporting this effort in a number of different ways:

Humanitarian Action:

Working within the field of Humanitarian Action and without losing sight of our aim to guarantee human rights during humanitarian crises, Mundubat is currently engaged in a programme designed to provide an effective, sustainable response to the serious food crisis in the country. To this end, we focus on preventing the deterioration of food security through actions that have a positive impact on the socioeconomic situation of the most vulnerable population.

Gender and Feminisms:

Mundubat works side by side with Malian women in a context in which women suffer extreme discrimination, with the country being ranked 156th in the world by the Gender Inequality Index. Women are the principal victims of the armed conflict, internal displacement and food insecurity. Moreover, gender-based violence is widespread in the country, limiting women’s access to justice due to social pressure and traditional practices that deny them their rights.

Food Sovereignty:

One of the key aims of our cooperative work in Mali is to help strengthen local peasant farmer organisations. To this end, we work with the Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes (CNOP) to enhance technical-production capacities by developing and disseminating the Peasant Agro-environmentalism model, with the aid of the Centre International de Formation en Agroécologie Paysanne de Nyéléni (CIFAN). We also work with organisations to increase their advocacy capability, mainly in order to enable them to defend their rights to the land, the rights of female peasant farmers and other rights enshrined in the UNDROP Declaration. To this end, we support training processes which focus especially on the Peasant Agro-environmentalism model and on organisational strengthening, working at the local, regional and national levels and, above all, striving to consolidate the regional articulation of the Vía Campesina in Western Africa.